Poland mayor stabbed on stage at major charity event, in very serious condition


The mayor of a city in Poland was in very serious condition after he was stabbed on stage Sunday during the finale of a large charity event, and Polish media reported details that gave the attack a political element.

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Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz was attacked with a knife while he stood on stage, held his belly and collapsed during the “Lights to Heaven” fundraiser organized by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, Poland’s most important charity.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said he was informed that “doctors succeeded in reanimating the heart of the seriously injured Mayor Pawel Adamowicz and there is hope, but his condition is very difficult.” He called on for people to pray for the mayor.

Polish broadcaster TVN reported that the suspected assailant shouted from the stage that he was imprisoned under a previous national government led by Civic Platform, a party to which the mayor formerly belonged, despite being innocent. He was arrested.

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Several Polish media outlets, including Rzeczpospolita, reported that the man yelled after stabbing Adamowicz: “Hello! Hello! My name is Stefan, I was jailed but innocent. … Civic Platform tortured me, that’s why Adamowicz just died.”

Police said he was a 27-year-old with a criminal record and had carried out bank robberies.

Radio Gdansk reported that Adamowicz was stabbed in the area of his heart, but did not cite its source, while Rzeczpospolita described his condition as “critical,” citing unnamed sources. A spokesman for the hospital called his condition “very serious.”

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TVN footage showed Adamowicz on stage just before the attack with a sparkler in hand telling the audience that it had been a “wonderful day” and then the attacker coming toward him.

European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who co-founded Civil Platform and is from Gdansk, wrote on Twitter: “Let’s all pray for Mayor Adamowicz. Pawel, we are with you.”

The head of the charity, Jerzy Owsiak, is a liberal critic of Poland’s current right-wing government. He blamed what he described as an atmosphere of hate under the ruling Law and Justice party for the attack on the mayor.

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Owsiak referred to being personally depicted in a defamatory manner in an animation that ran on state TV last week and that also had anti-Semitic overtones.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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